At 16 years old, after a surgery-gone-bad to help correct her scoliosis, Monica was told that she would never walk again.
Yet every week, Monica walks through our doors at Hybrid with a contagious smile on her face, and she does what she was told would be impossible.
In fact, just yesterday she did a whole lot more than just walk! Laterally walking, stepping over things, stepping up on to platforms… AND stepping backwards off of that same step!
We take for granted the awareness we have of where our feet are. When she was stepping backwards off of that step, she really don’t know where her feet were going. She just had to trust herself!
When we first started working together, we had to try and figure out parking arrangements. In our main entrance, there are only steps… so that made it difficult.
On our back entrance, however, there is a ramp that leads up to the sidewalk where the door is… but the ramp is on the OTHER side of the block.
From there she made it a goal to be able to walk the whole distance of the block… and shes already done that over and over.
When we were walking the block yesterday, we got stopped by a few tourists, and they decided they wanted to have a full blown conversation! They were really nice people…But standing still for Monica is exhausting. So as we spoke, in the corner of my eye I could see her gritting her teeth trying to stand straight up.
We decided from now on it would be a good addition to her workout routine to find random strangers on the sidewalk and talk to them.
I can’t express how inspired by her and how far she has come. But even beyond that… she just has the biggest heart and is so courageous. Even if she didn’t make any progress at all, she is an amazing person that we can all learn from.
Every time she comes in… even if I’m having a crappy day, my day immediately takes a turn for the better.
Thank you Monica for being you, being so strong, and not letting anything get in your way!
Monica hasn’t let her injury stop her in any other areas of her life either!
She is married and has a beautiful baby boy, and is a guidance counselor at a local school!
In one of this weeks youtube videos, I share with you a story about persistence that proves that if you just keeping working on your goals… no matter how many times you get hit with adversity, you will reach them eventually
I’ve been weaning myself off of the barbell for a few months. I decided to change up my training and depart from the go-big or go-home approach. I’ve gone from high weight/ low repetitions to high reps/ lower weight. I cap my weight increases and change my tempo for a greater challenge. I’m exploring how this feels and listening to my body. Sometimes in a large class I feel a little bit on the outside because my goals might be different, not going for a personal record. But then I remember that everyone’s goals are different all the time. So I just do my thing. One reason I’m backing off the big weight is it does a number on my central nervous system. I’d like to minimize fatigue and brain fog. It’s been a stressful few months, and while I have lots of strategies and mechanisms for copying with stress, my reserves are low. A good strategy for me is to minimize extra fatigue from compound exercises like deadlifts. However, the personal records are important too, and I’m happy I have them. I’ve been reflecting on the value of the p.r. One of the greatest take-aways from the deadlift and rack pulls specifically is the byproduct of self-belief. Yes, fat loss, gaining strength, and feeling good are also amazing byproducts, but the unexpected result is self-belief. The surprise of this discovered confidence makes it even more of a gem.
I’m a pretty confident person about most things, but most things I do, I do all the time. When it comes to the weight room, for the first year especially, most of it was new and most of it came with the thought, “I can’t do that.” I think many of us would agree that so quickly for all of us this initial thought becomes, “I can do that.” How exciting and empowering to have this new narrative. Honestly, sometimes we wonder if we will ever be able to get through the warm up without stopping, or do a one minute plank, wall sits, or bear crawls, let alone any weight lifting. But we do and we believe in ourselves a little more with each success.
When we start thinking about our own #s, setting goals and accomplishing them, in some way we are rewiring our brains for self-belief. By setting our sights on something that seems out of reach and then achieving that, we boost our confidence and this carries over into other parts of our lives. What else in my life would I like to achieve? What goals can I set? How do I prioritize my routine to get there? What are the steps I need to take? Once you apply the structure, the discipline, and the process to get there- Boom! You reach new p.r.s in your life. For me the barbell is a reminder of all the things I never thought I could do, but actually can. Coincidentally, barbells are not in our routine this month. I’m glad I didn’t have to quit cold turkey, and had self directed through the weaning process, but I look at them fondly with memories of my personal records. Fortunately for me on my last rack pull p.r. of 300#, my workout buddy, Michelle asked if she could take my picture. I’m glad she did, and like Bogart to Bergman in Casablanca , I can say, “We’ll always have Paris.”
Cultivating your self-belief is a wonderful byproduct of attending a gym. What would you like to accomplish that you never thought you could, because you know what? I bet you can!
Almost three years ago, I got a text message from my big sister asking me if I could train her and her friend to get ready for a Tough Mudder, a 12 mile obstacle course that they admittedly were a little afraid to do. She asked if, at 5:30am two times a week, I could put them through the ringer.
I was all on board except for the 5:30am part, but because I love my sister SO MUCH, I said of course.
And just like that, a week later, the first “official” Hybrid Fitness workout would take place.
There were four of us in a super small room that I had bartered for as our temporary gym. If I weed wacked my friend Sherry’s lawn, then I could use the space! It was a pretty sweet gig. I used my lawn mowing money to purchase new equipment, and moved what I had from my parents garage here as well. (I had been stockpiling equipment for years).
After two weeks of my early morning workouts, my sister Torey and her friend Michelle came up to me and told me something that would change how I thought about gyms and working out forever.
They told me, “Hunter, we’ve also been working out at another class while working with you. Our other class is great, and we love the instructor. However, it’s like an episode of mean girls. We get looks, and nobody really talks to us. When we are here with you, we don’t feel like we’re being judged. We can just be ourselves.”
I didn’t realize that that happened in workout classes. Me always being a decent athlete in high school, I never really felt out of place. But if that happened to me, or if I even heard about that happening, then I definitely wouldn’t want to work out at a gym!
It opened my eyes to all of the men and women being left out. I’m sure they were afraid of the exact same thing that Torey and Michelle had experienced – Cliques and Drama. And we thought we graduated high school!
It felt like a calling for me, and I knew I wanted to help those people who needed it most.
Slowly but surely, we started to grow our classes… and 3 years later, we’ve impacted 500 men and women through our workout classes in our fun, judgement-free setting. This all takes place at our gym on Thomaston Main Street.
Why do people come?
People come and see us for a number of reasons. They have fitness goals, and we have great workouts that produce amazing results. We are very proud of that.
Other people come for reasons other than just getting in shape.
Sometimes people have life changes that can put them in a dark place.
We take the time to sit down with every one of our members in a Strategy Session before they start, so we can hear your full story. Not everyone tells us everything in the beginning – and we aren’t pushy.
Sometimes its not until a few months down the road that we hear about the real reasons people come.
We take the time to listen.
Being able to help those who are going through a tough time has been such a gift to me, and I couldn’t do it alone.
We have such an amazing team of trainers and staff here at Hybrid Fitness who have the biggest hearts, and care for people so much.
That’s exactly why I wanted them to join the team.
No matter who you work with here, you will be in great hands.
The Gym that Gives Back
Recently, as our gym as grown, my role has changed from helping people directly to teaching and managing our staff. This change has had an effect on me, also sometimes bring me to a dark place.
What made me so happy in the past, coaching our members, doesn’t happen as often now. Although I love being a coach to our trainers and “running the business”, it’s not quite as fulfilling.
But, I have made this role change because I will always do what I believe is best for our gym – and also myself.
This past weekend, our gym entered the inflatable 5k. Being around all of the positive energy from members picked me up, and reminded me of why I do this. In fact, I hate calling them members. They are truly my friends.
Those same people who I have sat down with to dig deep into their goals and problems, rose ME up.
It goes back to something we’ve always preached here.
You can’t do it alone.
No matter what your goal is – you need a team. You need people who can keep you going even when things get tough.
And this weekend I realized what changes need to happen for myself and for Hybrid Fitness so that we can continue to positively impact peoples’ lives.
Probably the LEAST important thing about Hybrid Fitness are the workouts.
It’s the Positive Energy. Its how great the people make you feel. It’s the feeling of knowing you are cared for and that someone always has your back.
We are constantly evolving here… and now we are going to take things to a whole new level.
Many of our members call the gym their second family.
So it’s time we started acting like one.
All families have family gatherings – so that’s what were going to do.
Around the holidays, we’ll throw parties! If there aren’t holidays, we’ll find something to celebrate! We’ll drink wine and do paint nights. We’ll dress up dorky and do ridiculous exercises. We’ll have field trips to exotic destinations.
Come party with us – meet with me and the team, and we will give you the happiest gym experience you will ever have.
P.S. Below are what some of my friends have said about why they love Hybrid Fitness.
P.P.S. If you love Hybrid Fitness – share this post with your friends!
What makes a successful relationship? Whittling down the answer to this question to the essentials leaves a simple formula.
A healthy relationship:
Is a priority
Brings value to my life
Honors who I am
In other words, when I prioritize a relationship I put aside time for it and plan for it. I feel nourished by it and feel like I have something to offer at the same time. When I cultivate a relationship, I take time to learn about the person and allow for growth and change.
In contrast, an unhealthy relationship might feel rushed, fit in between other things, easily distracted during interactions by texts, calls, work, or t.v, etc. I might go so far as to label it “bad” when I talk about it, or feel I have to justify it, not be completely honest about it, or see there is no substance to it.
The same is true with our relationship with food.
There are many strategies for building healthy habits for eating well and supporting good nutrition. Some people have success with 3 meals a day, some with 5 smaller meals. Some people count macro nutrients. Some count on protein shakes. There’s intermittent fasting, intuitive eating, (my favorite), meal prep, recipe apps, food journaling, and more. Any, none, and all have worked for me at various times in my life. Recently I went through a very stressful time, and I could feel my eating habits changing. I found that I wasn’t able to pull a strategy from my tool box to help me. Day after day went by and I’d start over finding myself ending at a place I didn’t like. I’d forgive myself and try again, but I was getting discouraged. What I realized through that process was that it wasn’t about the food, the habits, the 3 meals, or the high protein. It was about my relationship with food that was having the most impact on whether or not I was successful executing my healthy eating habits.
The best way for me to reset my habits was to do what I would do to improve any relationship.
Make it a priority. Eat slowly, not rushing through a meal or snack on the go. Be present and mindful.
Make sure it brings value. Eat nutrient dense food with quality ingredients.
I’ve been told I have exceptionally high standards for most things in my life. To honor who I am, why wouldn’t I hold my food choices to those same standards?
Cultivate my relationship with food. Enjoy the process. Explore new ideas, recipes, flavors, and resources.
By taking inventory of my relationship with food this way, I am actually addressing the root of many food habit issues.
What does a healthy relationship look like for you?
September’s harvest moon was impressive this week if you had a chance to watch it climb over the horizon at nightfall, its abundant light matched by the mounds of zucchini squash and cucumbers gathered from our gardens. It’s harvest time and the generosity of the land is shared with family and friends throughout the county. One of the simplest pleasures in my daily life this time of year is seeing the shining faces of sunflowers. I have planted them at the end of my driveway for many years. At the end of a long day at work, on the water, or away from home, there is little chance I won’t be cheered by the joyful visage of the head of a September sunflower and its golden greeting.
Years ago I had a brief illness and a serious bout of fatigue in May and early June. Being fiercely independent, I held things together with the gossamer threads of strength I had left (and it did not occur to me to ask for a little help). When July and August rolled through, I was fully recovered and back on my feet in full, but I had not planted a garden – no vegetables, no annuals, and no sunflowers. When September came, my arrival home each day was void of that cheerful glance. My empty garden bed and the corner void of sunflowers were a constant reminder of the importance of the seeds we choose to sow.
Sometimes we are not in the position to rototill, plant the seeds, water, and weed a whole acre. When life gets busy or difficult, when we have disruption or crisis, it is not uncommon to get through with doing just that which is necessary to get by. What I learned those years ago, is how important it is to plant even just a few seeds, so when harvest time comes, and you are long past the hardest part of something, you are able to reap the rewards of even the smallest of efforts. I recognize this not just in my garden, but also in my wellness plan. When life is hectic, when crisis hits, when schedules are askew, it can sometimes feel easier to let your habits slip: maybe you sleep less, eat more ice cream, skip working out, etc. But if you plant the seeds, like an extra gym session, or committing to your water intake, or 15 minutes of stretching, whatever your little bit is, when things calm down again, there will be a harvest for you.
What small seeds can you sow when planting the big garden is too much to handle?
I was having a conversation with my brother over the phone about finding something that he’d be passionate about in a career.
He told me, “Hunter, I don’t know what I’d be passionate about to run my own business in.”
I told him that you aren’t going to get inspired by any one thing, you’re going to get inspired by someone.
A person will inspire you.
For me and fitness, it wasn’t that working out was all that cool. It was that my older cousin always lifted weights and because he did it, I thought it was so cool. In my attempt to be just like him, I started working out on my own.. and fell in love.
I told Tucker we should go to some conferences or events where we can hear people from different industries speak… and that he would find someone who motivated him.
We all have to have that person that we inspire to be like. (Maybe we don’t all have to, but it sure helps me). It doesn’t have to be a real person, it can be a fictional character. (Mine is Goku from a cartoon called Dragon Ball Z.. lol ) It could even be a picture in your mind about your future self.
Find someone that inspires you to be better, and model them. Just don’t lose yourself along the way.
Who are you going to be inspired by? If you don’t have anyone, go find someone!